While many of us worry over how our hair, brows, and eyes appear, few consider the influence of the forehead on these features. The upper third of the face is considered from the hairline to the brow line A big forehead may be caused by a receding or high hairline, low hair density, or a heavy brow.
While shape and size can be altered through a forehead reduction surgery, a hairline lowering procedure, hair loss procedure, or hair restoration procedure will create a new hairline and improve hair density (more details can be seen on our Hair Loss page). Adjustments to the brow to alter shape, size, prominence, and volume will also change forehead appearance (see our Aging Eyes concern for more information).
To get a better idea of what options exist for your unique concern, a consideration of the anatomy of the forehead area and the associated concerns are below. Of note, forehead reduction procedures are commonly used in facial feminization plastic surgery.
What is the anatomy of the forehead?
The forehead can be vertically defined from the hairline to the brow line or upper portion of the eye socket. This area is composed of the frontal bone of the skull to the superciliary arch (the brow ridge). Horizontally the forehead is defined by the temporal ridges.
Numerous facial muscles, nerves, and blood vessels lie beneath the forehead skin. Certain muscles control the wrinkles that appear horizontally across the forehead, while another set controls the formation of the vertical furrows between the eyes.
The skin of the forehead is relatively thicker than that of the rest of the face. This is in part due to the plethora of sweat and oil glands in the area (1).
What causes differences in forehead shape and size?
Given the forehead is defined superiorly (at the top) by the hairline, there are understandably vast differences in forehead shape and size across individuals. Forehead shape is also significantly influenced by brow prominence, shape, and volume. Genetics, hairline, brow appearance, and personal grooming habits will all contribute to the forehead shape and size.
Between genders, men typically have more sloping/angled foreheads with a prominent brow ridge. Females foreheads, in contrast, are more rounded with a less defined brow ridge.
What are the main concerns related to a forehead’s shape and size?
The appearance of the forehead is influenced by multiple factors, like bone structure, hairline and hair style, and brow shape and size. It is, therefore, beneficial to better classify your unique forehead concern into one or more of the subcategories below:
- Large Forehead: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so a large forehead is a matter of personal opinion. Changes in the hairline with age, natural sagging of the skin over time, and undesirable proportions of the facial features can contribute to a perceived large forehead.
- Heavy Brow: A heavy brow can result from an overly prominent brow ridge. The size, shape, and volume of the brow may also contribute to the appearance of a heavy brow.
- Receding Hairline: The hairline naturally recedes with age. In men, hair recession more commonly occurs along the forehead hairline, whereas in the female hairline it is mostly seen as a widening of the middle part. Genetic predispositions to hair loss may cause hairline recession to afflict younger individuals.
Who may wish to seek treatment to change their forehead shape and size?
Procedures to alter the shape and size of the forehead are not always completely specific to the forehead itself. Many procedures that will alter the appearance of the forehead are targeted at the surrounding features, like hairline, hair volume, and brow size and shape. For this reason, men and women seeking to alter their forehead appearance may experience significant cosmetic benefits in multiple areas.
How can someone change their forehead shape and size?
A change to forehead shape and size does not necessarily mean an invasive procedure to alter your underlying bone structure. Although many of these plastic surgeries are performed under general anesthesia with a few month recovery period. Changes to the hairline, hair volume, or brow through Forehead Reduction (hairline lowering surgery), brow lift (forehead lift, browplasty plastic surgery), or a Hair Transplant will significantly improve the forehead appearance while simultaneously addressing additional cosmetic concerns.
For a Large Forehead:
Men and women can consider lowering the position of their hairline through a Forehead Reduction (Hairline Lowering) procedure. This surgery removes excess skin to lower the hairline and shrink the distance between the hair and the brow.
For a Heavy Brow:
A Brow Lift procedure is used to decrease brow prominence and restore skin tone and appearance. There are multiple approaches depending on a patient's specific need. These include a Coronal Brow Lift, Endoscopic Brow Lift, Pretrichial Brow Lift, Combination Midbrow Incision with Endoscope Brow Lift , Traditional Midbrow Lift, Direct Brow Lift, and Chemical Brow Lift.
For a Receding Hairline:
The hairline can be altered through a Forehead Reduction (Hairline Lowering) procedure or a Hair Transplant. A hair transplant will additionally benefit hair volume and appearance through hair grafting or solutions to stimulate hair growth. Hair transplants can be achieved via Follicular Unit Transplantation (Strip Harvesting), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplantation, and Neograft.
For a closer look at the treatment options outlined above, check out our guide to Forehead Reduction Solutions.
While we don’t spend too much time thinking about our foreheads, the appearance of the forehead can greatly influence our facial aesthetic. The hairline and brow line define and significantly contribute to the look of the forehead. A Hair Transplant procedure, brow lift procedure, or Forehead Reduction surgery with a board certified plastic surgeon can create your ideal look and maybe even improve your hairline and hair density as well. Two birds with one stone, right?
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